Oliver Stone‘s adaptation of the novel Savages, in which two pot-dealing friends are roped into working for the drug cartel that kidnaps their young female companion, is becoming a hot property. The combination of a young cast, a long-established major director and lively material tends to do that. Multiple studios were in contention for distribution rights, and Universal has taken the brass ring.

Aaron Johnson and Taylor Kitsch are the leads; Benicio Del Toro and Salma Hayek are looking like the two key cartel characters, and multiple actresses are reading for the role of the female friend. Blake Lively, Abbie Cornish & Teresa Palmer are all said to be possible names, though Deadline also says Oliver Stone might go with a ‘discovery.’ Oliver Stone, Shane Salerno and novel author Don Winslow are working on the script now.

After the break,  a total change of gears: a Universal film based on the musical In the Heights is no longer happening, for the moment. Read More »

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Oliver Stone is assembling Savages, which adapts the book of the same name by Don Winslow and has Aaron Johnson and Taylor Kitsch set to star as best friends and pot growers who get roped into working for a drug cartel when the bad guys kidnap their friend/girlfriend.

Salma Hayek is a possible pick to be the matriarch of the drug cartel, and Benicio Del Toro is now signing on to play the cartel’s enforcer, who sets the kidnapping, and therefore the plot, in motion. Some script work is being done now by Oliver Stone, Don Winslow and Shane Salerno, and there are ongoing discussions with a couple of studios to pick up the project — Universal seems like the likely home right now. [Deadline]

After the break, new gigs for Emma Robers, Kenan Thompson and the new Jason Voorhees, Derek Mears. Read More »

Josh Hutcherson still might become one of the bigger young actors out there. He was high in the running for the lead in Sony’s new Spider-Man before being overlooked in favor of Andrew Garfield. Part of the problem might have been his previous commitment to Journey 2: The Mysterious Island. Regardless, he’s doing Journey 2; he’s in Joseph Kahn’s Detention (trailer here), and his role in the remade Red Dawn might finally be seen this year.

And that’s just the start. He’s just locked down a role in Benicio Del Toro‘s first directorial effort, which is one of the segments in the omnibus film 7 Days in Havana. And he has met with director Gary Ross about the lead in The Hunger Games, for which he’s hoping to compete with another up and coming actor, Alex Pettyfer. Read More »

Peter and Bobby Farrelly are still on the hunt for their new Three Stooges. The cast was once assembled, with Benicio del Toro set to play Moe, Jim Carrey set for Curly and Sean Penn as Larry. But that splintered, starting when Sean Penn took a sabbatical from work, and late last year the film moved from MGM to Fox, where it is fast-tracked to shoot this spring.

But, as of now, there are no Stooges. Johnny Knoxville and Andy Samberg have been tenuously linked to roles, and the brothers have recently said that Benicio del Toro is still an option for Moe. Now, in an interview to promote Hall Pass, the brothers have mentioned an unlikely collection of additional options: Woody Harrelson, Larry David, Hank Azaria and Justin Timberlake. Read More »

People really want to make movies about mob hitman Richard ‘the Ice Man’ Kuklinski. Mickey Rourke has been attached to The Ice Man: Confessions of a Mafia Contract Killer for some time. But last November we heard about a rival film: The Iceman, with Michael Shannon playing Kuklinski and possible support from Benicio del Toro and James Franco.

Now the casting of those two appears to be confirmed, and it looks like The Iceman will beat the other production to the starting line. Read More »

What is it with omnibus films of late? In the past few years there have been Chacun son cinema, New York, I Love You, Paris Je T’aime and a couple others. And now there’s a plan to put together a seven-part film about live in contemporary Cuba, called 7 Days in Havana. The hook here is the directorial lineup, which includes Benicio Del Toro and Gaspar Noe. That’s good enough for me — I’ll spend a week in Cuba with these guys. Read More »

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Bret Easton Ellis has a long history with Hollywood. Over twenty years ago he was less than impressed with the film version of his novel Less Than Zero, though thirteen years later Mary Harron would adapt his American Psycho into a film that quickly attained cult classic status and The Rules of Attraction generally stayed true to his intentions. Last year’s The Informers swung the pendulum back towards crap, but there is reason to hope for some of his upcoming projects.

Ellis has a couple of movies in the pipeline, and now his upcoming novel Imperial Bedrooms may become a film as well. Read More »

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This might be the year’s most unlikely romantic comedy pairing: Cameron Diaz and Benicio Del Toro are tapped to appear in the screen version of Jane Heller‘s novel An Ex to Grind. Del Toro would be a star athlete who has supported his wife, a waitress. But an injury sidelines his career, after which he becomes a housebound nobody, while her business career takes off. When she realizes that asking for a divorce would lead to her paying alimony to support his new, lame lifestyle, she tries to find him a new wife.

The two actors are just attached now, and there is no director attached. So anything could happen, which, hopefully, might include this film not happening. [Deadline]

After the break, Liam Hemsworth gets a sports movie, and The Girl With the Red Riding Hood gets a male lead. Read More »

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